Hypertension is the leading preventable cause of death and disability around the world, and can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
The first step in understanding high blood pressure is learning what your numbers mean. Blood pressure is measured with two numbers: systolic (the higher number) and diastolic (the lower number) (e.g., 120/80 mmHg):
· Systolic pressure occurs when your heart contracts.
· Diastolic pressure occurs when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
· Blood pressure is measured using millimetres of mercury (mmHg), which is a standardized measurement of pressure.
· The higher your systolic or diastolic blood pressure – and the longer it stays high – the greater the potential damage to your blood vessels.
Your blood pressure should be less than 140/90 mmHg.
Low Risk: Less than 120/80 mmHg
Moderate Risk: 121/80 to 139/89 mmHg
Elevated Risk: More than 140/90 mmHg
If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have high blood pressure. It should be less than 130/80 mmHg.
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and sometimes death.
Blood pressure is the force that a person’s blood exerts against the walls of their blood vessels. This pressure depends on the resistance of the blood vessels and how hard the heart has to work. Almost half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure, but many are not aware of this fact.
Hypertension is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and aneurysm. Keeping blood pressure under control is vital for preserving health and reducing the risk of these dangerous conditions.
Management and treatment:Lifestyle adjustments are the standard, first-line treatment for hypertension. We outline some recommendations here:
Regular physical exercise: People can measure blood pressure using a sphygmomanometer. Current guidelines recommend that all people, including those with hypertension, engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity, aerobic exercise every week, or 75 minutes a week of high intensity exercise. People should exercise on at least 5 days of the week. Examples of suitable activities are walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming.
Medication: People can use specific medications to treat hypertension. Doctors will often recommend a low dose at first. Antihypertensive medications will usually only have minor side effects. Eventually, people with hypertension will need to combine two or more drugs to manage their blood pressure. Anyone on antihypertensive medications should carefully read the labels of any over-the-counter (OTC) drugs they may also take, such as decongestants. These OTC drugs may interact with the medications they are taking to lower their blood pressure.
Diet: People can prevent high blood pressure by following a heart-healthy diet. Reducing salt intake is one way; People’s average salt intake is between 9 grams (g) and 12 g per day in most countries around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend reducing intake to under 5 grams to help decrease the risk of hypertension and related health problems. Lowering salt intake can benefit people both with and without hypertension.
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